Sojourners Magazine: December 1981
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My first encounter with Francis of Assisi occurred when I was just finishing my studies and embarking on a promising future.
Francis Bernadone gave birth to a charismatic movement that swept the world of his time.
He was called "Il Poverello," the little poor man. The religious poverty of Francis is prominent in his rich legacy to the world, but it is often misunderstood.
When we think about St. Francis, let's not overlook Pietro Bernadone. He was the father of the saint, the Assisian merchant who took the brunt of his son's conversion.
When my brother and I were boys we heard a great deal about St. Francis from a dear friend of ours, for whom poverty was, in itself, the highest of virtues.
Francis of Assisi stands as a symbol that peacemaking is a thinkable endeavor even in a war-wracked world such as ours.
If ever the 20th century has been given a key to the secret of wisdom in a crazy world, it is in Francis.
It was fitting that the first global dialogue between leaders of rich and poor countries would be set in Cancun, Mexico.